Bennett: Why did we wait until now to test incoming passengers?

Yamina chairman criticizes Netanyahu for waiting to order that people entering Israel be required to undergo coronavirus testing.

Hezki Baruch ,

Netanyahu at Ben Gurion Airport
Netanyahu at Ben Gurion Airport
Photo: GPO

Yamina chairman and former Defense Minister Naftali Bennett on Saturday night responded to reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had waited until now to order that people entering Israel be required to undergo coronavirus testing.

"It is a pity that we had to wait for about 50 deaths from coronavirus a day to make a simple decision that we have long called to be made - to test incoming passengers. Terrible foolishness. The Netanyahu government's oversight regarding Ben Gurion Airport has created a huge hole through which thousands of carriers of coronavirus and its variants have entered, while life is being shut down here. We will rehabilitate Israel," he said.

MK Yifat Shasha-Biton added, "As chair of the Coronavirus Committee, I warned for months about the oversight at Ben Gurion Airport and the importance of testing those arriving in Israel, but no one took action. It is absurd to test people when they leave the country but not upon their return, including from red countries. Ben Gurion Airport has the tools to carry out tests on those entering the country and the state's avoidance of this is indicative of a disgraceful failure.”

“I regret the fact that the government remembered to wake up only after the arrival of patients with variants and the increase in mortality. Enough with the discussions and bureaucracy, take action," she added.

The Ministry of Health issued an update on Saturday night saying that there was an increase in the rate of positive tests to 8.6% on Friday. 8,013 new cases were discovered on Friday. 272 patients have died since the beginning of the week.

The Ministry of Health also updated that four more cases of the new South African variant of coronavirus have been discovered in Israel - all of which came from the United Arab Emirates. The carriers arrived on more than one airline, so there is a fear that the numbers are higher and many that Israelis may have been exposed to them.

To date, 12 cases of the South African variant have been identified in Israel.